“I am the best drone pilot in this neighborhood!”
Those words never sounded so heavy until that evening when Marcus came to my house with Jenna. The entrance submission for a drone competition organized by our community was going to close that evening, and I never intended to sign up. Jenna had said she was going to be attending the competition to watch me and well, it would have been stupid of me to pass down opportunity to show off, so I told her I was going to register before it closed that evening and that I just wanted to be sure I was in the right head space for it.
“The guys who have registered on the website are good!” Marcus said.
“I heard Charles was the best in the neighborhood” Jenna followed.
Charles, a bully who made my middle school life miserable. I suddenly grew bigger after a few months which I believe intimidated him enough to let me be. But I never forgave him for what he did, and I wasn’t ready to be second place to him, so I jumped in and spat out the word which came with more weight than I had anticipated.
“I am the best drone pilot in this neighborhood!” I concluded.
“Well, Sam I love you, and I believe in you, but you are going to have to prove yourself on that,” Marcus said as Jenna who was seated right beside him smiled.
He was right, and even though I had garnered enough skill to handle drones with ease, I had never really been in a competition, and that thought frightened me. What if I don’t win, or worse, what if I finish in the last place. What an embarrassing scenario it would be for me. I wouldn’t forgive myself, I thought. Not especially when Charles was going to be involved.
There had been rumors that some participants dishonestly add boosters to their drones, to increase the speed. Even though this was against the rule, there was no sure way of catching the rule breakers except the judges who involved the society committee notices the drone flying at an unusual speed.
The competition was in two days, on a Saturday and with the overwhelming nervousness that always accompanied the thought of the event, I thought it was best I relaxed and rested more. I also exercised, using the restricted size of my room to creatively maneuver my drone around, in mid-air and at a very fast speed.
The day came, and Marcus, as well as Jenna, were already at my house as early as 8 am on that Saturday morning. I had woken up earlier to do somebody warm-up ahead of the eventful day. As we stepped out my house, I reassured myself that I could do it and I was going to win. I also felt a reassurance that gave me enough confidence to put a smile on my face.
On getting to the venue, we were welcomed by a large crowd who seemed to had been expecting us — me. A certain group ran over and suddenly, and a very young boy jumped on me. I gently caught him and put him down as I made my way to the stand for my drone assessment. I was the last on the queue of 8 contestants, and I could see Charles who was about to get his drone assessed.
He had come with an FPV racing Drone VXR190 which had a record speed of up to 166mph. As I stared at the drones of the other contestants, I realized Charles was with the fastest drone, even faster than mine and if he really handles it well, then he could win the competition flawlessly. I adjusted my pose as it got closer to my turn, but I didn’t stop staring at Charles and his drone as I gently placed mine on a table.
Charles took out his towel and began to clean the already looking neat drone. Then, suddenly, a small girl of about 12 approached him if she could touch his drone, and to my surprise, he said no. Though he mentioned that she could come back, I couldn’t help but feel like he also knows the value of what was in his possession and it didn’t seem like he was about to let at least one scratch on his drone.
It was time, and the contestants were getting into position and ready to start. Jenna and Marcus had wished me good luck ahead, and I knew a lot of people were counting on me.
The first drone to reach midair was the Gemo Copter which could fly at a speed of 119mph. But I couldn’t let that distract me or demotivate me, so I focused on me, and I didn’t even look towards where Charles was standing. I could see his drone though, but unlike the rest of us, he wanted the drone on a path where no other drone could reach it, but some contestant seemed to have been following his lead which made Charles stray his drone further away from the green zone. I have had my Nightfury’s Arc 200 for about six months, and the maximum speed it had reached was 70mph which placed me a bit behind in the race.
Three drones that were ahead of me fell off the sky after their fans collided hard, and suddenly I was in the second place. Meanwhile, Charles drone also malfunctioned as it suddenly turned back like the “Go to home button” had been activated, and just like that Charles was out.
I struggled to stay focus and maintain the balance of my drone. I wasn’t desperate to win, but losing wasn’t an option either.
The competition ended with my Nightfury Arc in second place, and the DRL Racer drone with the speed 164mph piloted by an Asian guy won the race.